Prime Minister-designate Ludovic Orban has named 16 ministers to head a new streamlined Liberal government, fewer than the previous 26 ministers in the outgoing Social Democrat governmment.
Parliament needs to approve the government before it can be installed and it is unclear whether that will happen as lawmakers focus on presidential elections next month.
Premier Viorica Dancila and her government were ousted in a no-confidence vote on Oct. 10.
Universul.net looks at a few of new names who may be in the next government.
‘Liberal with a musical side, who’s matured.’
The younger brother of Leonard Orban, who was appointed Romania’s first European Union commissioner in 2007, the Orban brothers are no relation to Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban.
He’s born in the Transylvanian city of Brasov. Orban has an ethnic Hungarian father, hence the surname and a mellow Transylvanian voice and attitude, though as an old-style Liberal, he’s a bit of a conservative about social issues. The 56-year-old studied industrial and design technology before going to the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration in 1993.
He joined the Liberals and served as deputy mayor of Bucharest from 2004 to 2007. He was transport minister briefly from 2007 to 2008 and was left without his driving license after a car accident where he lost control of his vehicle and slightly injured a girl on the sidewalk.
He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2008 and that year and has been successfully re-elected since then. He opposed the center-right party’s coalition with the Social Democrats in 2011 when the two formed an alliance
He ran for mayor again but dropped out amid corruption charges. He was eventually cleared of wrongdoing and has a clean image.
He was elected party chairman in 2017 and led the party to victory in May European Parliament elections. Recently, he was the driving force behind the successful bid to unseat Dancila and her government, calculating with some accuracy the number of votes he could count on to dismiss her.
He’s considered fiscally and socially conservative and advocates a flat tax. He voted for wording that would have led to a permanent ban on same-sex marriage in a referendum last year.
He’s known to enjoy music, and has been filmed dancing to traditional and Gypsy music. He plays the guitar and banjo according to media reports.
‘Heavyweight, on the forefront of Romanian foreign policy.’
Aurescu has been tipped as the foreign minister. The career diplomat is a serious heavyweight in Romanian foreign policy and is currently an adviser to President Klaus Iohannis. He was previously foreign minister from 2014 to 2015.
He joined the foreign ministry in 1996 and has held various positions. He was a state secretary at the foreign ministry from 2009 to 2014, where he held various positions.
From 2003 to 2004 he was the government’s representative for the European Court of Human Rights, while from 2004 to 2009 he successfully represented Romania in the International Court of Justice in a forty-year-old border dispute over a large petrol and gas-rich area of the Black Sea. The court ruled largely in Bucharest’s favor on the contentious issue of ‘Snake Island.’
From 2010 to 2011, he was the chief negotiator for Romania for the Romania US Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement and the joint declaration for the strategic Romanian-US partnership for the 21st century. He’s a member of the UN International Law Commission and the chairman of Romanian branch of “International Law Association” and holds various other positions.
‘Three-star general, respected by NATO, at odds with the Social Democrats’
The 52-year-old three-star general graduated military school in Craiova, southern Romania in 1985, and has stayed in the military ever since. He served in Angola from 1996 to 1997 and later in Turkey and Kosovo.
He was named Chief of Staff by Iohannis in 2015, and has received numerous awards including the National Order of Merit Commander by France’s ambassador to Romania, Michele Ramis in 2015. He is viewed as a “fighting general” has domestic and foreign credibility to the current efforts to modernize Romania’s military.
Iohannis trusts Ciuca and in December last year extended his mandate as the army’s chief of staff for a year despite opposition from the governing Social Democrats. The government sued saying his extension was illegal but Iohannis won on appeal because as Romania’s president, he is in charge of the country’s defense policy.
The government was reportedly in a dispute with Ciuca over the acquisition of warships. Defense Minister Gabriel Les wanted to replace him but Iohannis said the nomination didn’t meet legal requirements.
Ciuca disagreed with the government who wanted to buy the warships from the Netherlands, which he said was too expensive. Romania, a NATO member since 2004, is committed to upgrading its armed forces in the next ten years.
‘One of Parliament’s best speakers, but never a minister.’
Turcan is a well-known name in politics but has never been a minister or held a senior position in the state hierarchy. She’s been handed the portfolio of deputy prime minister (the only one; the Social Democrats had three to for). Turcan, 43, is currently the leader of the Liberals in the Chamber of Deputies and has been a member of Parliament since 2004 when she was just 28. She was one of the founders of the Democratic Liberals, but then returned to the Liberals.
She was an interim leader of the Liberals in 2017 for six months after Alina Gorghiu resigned.
One of the better speakers in Parliament, she’s an economist and specialist in communications and public relations and married to Valeriu Turcan, who was the spokesman for former President Traian Basescu. Former Prime Minister Theodor Stolojan took her under his wing when he was Liberal Party leader and she helped the party grow.
She studied at the Pushkin Institute in Moscow and has a diploma in ‘business Russian’ according to her CV. She returned to Romania and graduated from the Academy of Economic Studies (ASE), and later got a masters’ in communications and public relations from the SNSPA. In Parliament, she has worked with civil groups focusing on the media, press rights, human rights and heath.